What is tuberculosis screening?

The purpose of tuberculosis screening (TB) is to detect the suspected presence of active pulmonary TB in those who are applying to travel to the UK. Screening will normally relate to those who intend to stay in the UK for over 6 months and have been resident in a country with an incidence of TB of 40 per 100,000 or more (identified by the World Health Organization) in the previous 6 months.

TB is caused by infection with a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. It may exist as active disease, with clinical symptoms or signs, or latent infection, where the infection has not progressed to clinical symptoms.

Private tuberculosis screening London

TB is an infection which can affect any organ, but most commonly affects the lungs and lymph glands. It is a notifiable disease and requires management by specialist TB services.

We provide a range of services relating to the investigation and management of TB, including:

  • TB contact screening
  • port of entry screening
  • Public Health England referrals

TB screening is available for adults in the UK over 16 years of age.

Preparing for tuberculosis screening

Sputum sample

You will be asked to provide a sputum sample early morning on three consecutive days. This involves coughing to give a sample. You will visit the clinic for approximately 15 minutes and the sample will be collected by a respiratory nurse.

Use of induced sputum

If you have difficulty producing sputum, you will be given a nebuliser, which will help to stimulate the production of sputum. This test may take about an hour and is also required on three consecutive days, early morning. Please do not eat or drink for 2 hours before the test.

Lateral flow test

You may be asked to carry out a lateral flow test on the day of your appointment.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms please do not attend your appointment. If you test positive please inform our team who will reschedule your appointment.

Test results and outcome of screening

Test results may take up to 8 weeks.

If your test result is negative, you will be issued with a clearance certificate (valid for 6 months from the date of the chest X-ray or initial medical assessment).

If your test result is positive (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is detected in your pleural fluid), you will be referred to a specialist who will discuss your results and refer you for ongoing urgent medical care.

Tuberculosis testing costs

How much is a tuberculosis test in the UK?

Non-induced sputum test


(£330 per test)

Induced sputum test


(£450 per test)

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